Embargo Breakers: Old Topic, Move On

I wrote about PR embargoes over a year ago and my opinion has not changed, this is a stupid PR industry practice that outside of a very small niche serves very little utility. The small niche you ask? Take the New England Journal of Medicine as an example, they rely on embargoes to enable mainstream journalists to come up to speed on complex subjects. Okay, totally see why the practice is of value here.

The embargo process is broken but considering that it is currently the equivalent of sending me free stuff unsolicited and then expecting me to pay for it after the fact, well it’s no surprise that it’s broken. What is more broken, IMO, is the entire PR process that leads up to an embargoed press release, there simply has to be a better way to do PR in this market. I can’t recall the last time I responded to one of those emails, much less wrote about the substance.

So I have decided to share my own thoughts on the problem – even though I see it from a little different perspective. My idea is that breaking an embargo often results in damages that could very well outweigh the value that the embargo breaker receives by doing so. And the damages are beyond how the announcement can be spoiled for the company by being announced earlier than it is supposed to. And this is why it is not particularly fair to look at an embargo as only involving two parties: a company and a media person (be it a blogger or a journalist).

[From Embargo Breakers: Who Exactly Do You Write For? | Profy | Internet news and commentary]

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Intel Debuts Wireless Power

This could be huge but before we get too frothy about it we should take a breath and realize that not only will device makers have to build this into their hardware designs, and pay Intel for the privilege of doing so, but with a range of a couple of feet us consumers won’t be completely untethered. Having said that, this is a welcome innovation.

The Times said Intel, which employs 6,000 in Folsom, will demonstrate using a magnetic field to broadcast up to 60 watts for a range of 2 to 3 feet and lose only 25 percent of the power.

[From Intel looks at way to wirelessly recharge electrical device – Sacramento Business Journal:]

CRM Takes A Beating

Ouch. It is interesting that analysts are now criticizing the company for focusing too much on enterprise deployments when just a year ago that is exactly what the company said they were going to do.

Meanwhile, sales and marketing expenses continue to take a huge bite out of the company’s income statement.

The San Francisco-based company, which sells subscriptions to business software hosted on the Internet, said net income for the second quarter ended in July rose to $10 million, or 8 cents a share, from $3.74 million, or 3 cents a share in the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile revenue rose 49% to $263.1 million.

[From Salesforce.com falls on disappointing outlook – MarketWatch]

Despite having their gains for the YTD blown out today, you would still have done better by going long on CRM than either SAP or ORCL:


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Fair Use: 1, RIAA: 0

While I am pleased with this decision to allow a lawsuit against Universal to continue, we’re really not that much closer to achieving clarity about Fair Use in the 21st century.

The saga of the copyright-infringing toddler continues as a California court refused to dismiss a lawsuit claiming that Universal Music had filed an improper takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA provides a mechanism for copyright holders to demand the removal of infringing material on the web, but it also allows lawsuits against those who abuse that authority. Universal claims that it has no obligation to take fair use into account before sending its takedown notices, but Judge Jeremy Fogel rejected this argument—and with it, Universal’s request to dismiss the lawsuit.

[From Fair use gets a fair shake: YouTube tot to get day in court]

More concerning to me is the way that content owners, aka studios, are pressuring cable and satellite companies to impose use restrictions on video on demand content that effectively locks down content to a single device. Directv is doing this with their set top boxes, which don’t allow you to move content to other boxes in your own home, much less alternative devices for viewing.

The bottom line is that Fair Use is being rewritten not by the Congress or the courts but rather by content owners who are forcing their distribution partners to adhere to far more restrictive usage terms and to do it at the hardware level.

Never before in the history of technology has so much money been spent on developing a technology, DRM, who’s sole purpose it is to restrict consumer behaviors, choices, and ultimately the experience.

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